Reallusion iClone4 Pro review
Facial puppeteering and video compositing add to existing strengths – just don’t expect Hollywood production values
Review Date: 19 Jan 2010
Reviewed By: Tom Arah
Price when reviewed: £122 (£143 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
Ease of Use
As computer-generated 3D animation increasingly takes over the world of Hollywood movies, many users will naturally wonder if they can do something similar on their own systems. Reallusion, makers of 3D animation software, offers a tool for the job: iClone4 Pro.
To start setting up your movie in iClone, begin at the Stage tab. Here you can choose from a handful of 3D presets or your own 2D image backdrops, as well as manage other global elements such as cameras and lights. New in iClone4 is support for High Dynamic Range (HDR) images and Image Based Lighting (IBL) to produce more realistic atmospheres.
Using the Set tab you can then dress your stage via presets for terrain, sky, water, grass and trees, plus particle effects such as fog and rain (which now benefit from new softness and orientation controls). It’s also here that you add prop presets such as walls, floors and curtains. Users of the 3DXchange add-on ($69) can create their own custom props by converting externally-created 3D models, including SketchUp/3D Warehouse files.
Once added, the handling of the elements that make up your set is improved by the use of onscreen gizmos for positioning, scaling and rotating. Object formatting is also made simpler thanks to eyedropper and paint bucket tools, while drag-and-drop support for external texture files helps keep file sizes down. Formatting options are enhanced with new blend modes and greater control over UV mapping.
Once your stage is set, switch to the Actors tab to cast your production. iClone4 adds new default male and female avatars as well as a new cartoon child, Jimmy Toon. The quality and realism of avatars is reasonable, but the limited choice of characters is perhaps inevitably slanted towards scantily-clad sci-fi fantasy.
If the default avatars don’t suit your intended project, further low-cost options are available from the Reallusion website, or you can quickly customise the provided presets. By far the most powerful feature in this regard is the ability to create new faces for your avatars by matching facial feature points to imported photos.
Once all your elements and actors are in place, you can bring them to life using the Animation tab. iClone4 Pro sees a major revamp of general animation capabilities, starting with the ability to dock and collapse the Timeline panel. You can also add and edit motion paths for objects and cameras to follow, as well as transition curves to make the resulting movement smoother and more naturalistic.
- Toshiba beats retreat from consumer PC market
- Google to follow Apple with device encryption
- U2 and Apple working on "new music format"
- Ellison steps down: but who's really running Oracle now?
- Audioboo to become Audioboom in app revamp
- Apple slaps down Google and police, as it takes high ground on user privacy
- Amazon releases high-end Kindle Voyage Touch
- What's on this week's PC Pro podcast?
- Virgin carpeted again for broadband speed claims
- Microsoft set to make more job cuts
- How to check your identity hasn’t been sold to the hackers
- Tim Cook: this is how much TV has changed since the 70s
- Westminster wins the .London battle
- 20 years of PC Pro: from deep pan pizza to virtualisation
- Five reasons why the Apple Watch leaves me cold
- Apple Watch, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus: Tim Cook's Apple back with a bang?
- BT Home Hub 5: how to get maximum speed
- 20 years of PC Pro: one-star reviews (including "the worst tablet we've ever seen")
- 20 years of PC Pro: our best covers
- Why we've closed the PC Pro forums
- The 7 best Chromebooks of 2014
- iPhone 6 vs Galaxy S5: is the Apple or Samsung flagship smartphone right for you?
- How to install iOS 8 without deleting apps and data
- The best smartwatches of 2014: what's the best smartwatch?
- Nexus 6 (X or Shamu) release date, price and specs rumour roundup
- Best of IDF: top tech and memorable moments from Intel's tech show
- How Apple Pay works and how to use it on your iPhone 6 or Apple Watch
- Tech of the future... and the British boffins building it
- Abuse magnets: the people behind corporate Twitter accounts
- Putting people at the centre of software design
- How to sell more ebooks on Amazon
- 10 ways to make your business more secure
- Top five VoIP mistakes
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office